Stories That Shaped A Nation

APRIL 26 & 27, 2015


April 7, 2015, Allentown, Pa. – Stories that Shaped a Nation, a two-year national awareness campaign, is being launched April 26 and 27, 2015, in Allentown, on Coretta Scott King’s 88th birthday and comes to a close on April 27, 2017, on what would have been her 90th birthday. Events will take place at the new Renaissance Center and Freedom Memorial in downtown Allentown, Pa. Stories that Shaped a Nation is a non-partisan, inclusive collaboration of the U.S. Library of Congress, women leaders of the Congressional Black Caucus and “The Freedom Memorial of the Lehigh Valley,” the only memorial in the world featuring both Coretta Scott and Martin Luther King.

Honorary Co-Chair Congresswomen of Stories that Shaped a Nation are U.S. Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge (OH-11) and U.S. Congresswoman Yvette Clarke (NY-9). “This is going to be historic, actually epic,” says Clarke. “All of these women who have been luminaries will be there, to be recognized for all they sacrificed to make a difference in the lives of all Americans. I am looking forward to making my way to Allentown for this event.”  Says Fudge, “Thanks to the women of the Lehigh Valley. Thank you for recognizing that women should have a place in the history of our nation. I am excited to be coming to Allentown.”

“This two-year campaign launches The Freedom Memorial of the Lehigh Valley’s work to champion Civil Rights education with inclusion of important and relevant curriculum for school children,” says Sam (Siobhan) Bennett, a co-founder of the Freedom Memorial located at 4th Street and Martin Luther King Drive, Allentown. “It is essential that Pennsylvania raise its current score of ‘D’, as cited by the Southern Poverty Law Center in 2014, as it pertains to Civil Rights education for school children in the commonwealth. We do so by celebrating women’s vitally important presence in the history of the Civil Rights movement at this event, and by acknowledging those today who are actively playing a role in further shaping a nation.” The Stories that Shaped a Nation two-year campaign will expand the role of the Freedom Memorial to champion Civil Rights education for all schoolchildren, in Allentown, throughout Pennsylvania to the nation at large.

“Allentown is proud to serve as the home of the start of the two year Stories that Shaped a Nation awareness campaign,” say City of Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski.  “We are a very diverse and inclusive community.  Our children should know that women played a very important part in the struggle for civil rights and Allentown is pleased to be able to be the kickoff point for bringing those stories to the forefront.”

Collaborating with the U.S. Library of Congress, Stories that Shaped a Nation will work over the next two years to gather and enhance the stories of the women icons it will honor in 2015, 2016 and 2017 to ensure their stories are preserved for posterity.

(Note: The Freedom Memorial of the Lehigh Valley is also known as the Martin Luther and Coretta Scott King Memorial).

Event Schedule

Stories That Shaped a Nation: The Stories of 2015 Inaugural Class of Women Icons

Sunday, April 26, 20153:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Panel Discussions: Renaissance Center, Allentown, Pa.

Complimentary and open to the general public

The Bottom-line Benefit of Women at the Decision-making Table: From Corporate Board Rooms to the Civil Rights Movement  from Out Places of Worship to the Halls of Congress

Sunday, April 26, 20156:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Women’s Networking Event: Renaissance Center, Allentown, Pa.

Open to the general public. This ticketed event is $50 per person and includes beverages, hors d’oeuvres and dessert.


Memorial and Music: Celebration of the Women Icons in Prayer and Song

Monday, April 27, 20159:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

Memorial Service: Freedom Memorial, Allentown, Pa.

Complimentary and open to the general public


March from Freedom Memorial to Renaissance Center immediately thereafter

Monday, April 27, 201511:00 to 11:20 a.m.

Immediately after the Memorial Service – Allentown’s chief of police has approved a march from the Freedom Memorial west on Union Street past St. James AME Zion Church north onto 7th Street to the Renaissance Conference Center where the awards luncheon will be held.


Honoring and Induction of the Inaugural Class of the Freedom Memorial of the Lehigh Valley’s Women Icons of the March on Washington and Civil Rights Movement

Monday, April 27, 201511:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Awards Luncheon: Renaissance Center, Allentown, Pa. Open to the general public. Ticketed event $50 per person; plated luncheon.


To purchase tickets and/or register online for any event, go to

Women Honorees in Attendance: National Delegation

Honorary Co-chair U.S. Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge (OH-11)

Immediate Past Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus

Honorary Co-chair U.S. Congresswoman Yvette Clarke (NY-9)

Chair Sojourner Truth Legacy, Congressional Black Caucus Foundation

Honoree U.S. Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-43)

Honoree Amelia Boynton Robinson

Honoree Nikki Giovanni

Honoree Elizabeth Eckford

Honoree Paula Giddings

Honoree Beverly Guy-Sheſtall

Honoree Ericka Huggins

Honoree Frankie Muse Freeman

Honoree Johnetta Betsch Cole

Honoree Myrlie Evers-Williams

Representative for Coretta Scott King, In Memoriam

Representative for Rosa Parks, In Memoriam

Representative for Ella Baker, In Memoriam

Representative for Mamie Till-Mobley, In Memoriam

Representative for Ruby Dee, In Memoriam

Representative for Dorothy Height, In Memoriam

Representative for Dorothy Cotton, In Memoriam

Invited: Pennsylvania Black Legislative Caucus

Pennsylvania State Rep. Louise Bishop (D-Philadelphia | 192nd District)

Pennsylvania State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown (D-Philadelphia | 190th District)

Pennsylvania State Rep. Michelle Brown-Lee (D-Philadelphia | 195th District)

Pennsylvania State Rep. James Clay (D-Philadelphia | 179th District)

Pennsylvania State Rep. Margo Davidson (D-Delaware | 164th District)

Pennsylvania State Rep. Dwight Evans (D-Philadelphia | 203rd District)

Pennsylvania State Rep. Edward Gainey (D-Allegheny | 24th District)

Pennsylvania State Rep. Jordan Harris (D-Philadelphia | 186th District)

Pennsylvania State Sen. Vincent Hughes (D-Philadelphia/Montgomery | District 7)

Pennsylvania State Rep. Patty Kim (D-Dauphin | 103rd District)

Pennsylvania State Rep. Stephen Kinsey (D-Philadelphia | 201st District)

Pennsylvania State Rep. Thaddeus Kirkland (D-Delaware| 159th District)

Pennsylvania State Sen. Shirley Kitchen (D-Philadelphia | District 3)

Pennsylvania State Rep. JP Miranda (D-Philadelphia | 197th District)

Pennsylvania State Rep. Cherelle Parker (D-Philadelphia | 200th District)

Pennsylvania State Rep. James Roebuck, Jr. (D-Philadelphia | 188th District)

Pennsylvania State Sen. LeAnna Washington (D-Philadelphia/Montgomery | District 4)

Pennsylvania State Rep. Ronald G. Waters (D-Philadelphia/Delaware | 191st District)

Pennsylvania State Rep. Jake Wheatley (D-Allegheny | 19th District)

Pennsylvania State Sen. Anthony H. Williams (D-Philadelphia/Delaware | District 8) Pennsylvania State Rep. Rosita Young Blood (D-Philadelphia | 198th District)

Commemoration Partners

National Penn Bank

The Renaissance Hotel

Pennsylvania State Sen. Pat Browne (R)

Pennsylvania State Sen. Lisa Boscola (D)

Organizational Partners (as of  April 1, 2015)

Allentown NAACP

Bethlehem NAACP

Easton NAACP

NAACP WIN Region 2

City of Allentown

Allentown School District

Allentown YWCA

Bethlehem YWCA

The Caring Place

Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley

Kraemer Schurman Advertising & Design, Inc.

County of Lehigh

Lehigh Temple #930 Daughters of the Elks

League of Women Voters Lehigh County

League of Women Voters Northampton County

Lehigh Valley Faces

Lehigh Valley Heritage Museum and Lehigh County Historical Society

Lehigh Valley Dietetic Association (LVDA)

National Black MBA Association, Philadelphia Chapter

Pennsylvania Black Legislative Caucus

This is Your Life Association of the Lehigh Valley

United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley

Women’s Leadership Council of the United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley


Freedom Memorial Board Members


Sharon Fraser, Board President

Nathan Kline, Board Vice-President

Adewale “Wally” Dosunmu, Board Secretary

Siobhan “Sam” Bennett, Board Treasurer


Many thanks to Kevin Easterling, Freedom Memorial Founding Team member

All financial gifts should be made payable to: “The Freedom Memorial of the Lehigh Valley,” c/o Board Treasurer 25 S. 15th Street Allentown, PA 18102.  Please note:

United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley is serving as the temporary fiscal agent for The Freedom Memorial of the Lehigh Valley DBA of The Martin Luther & Coretta Scott King Memorial.  Registration doesn’t imply endorsement.  Your contribution is tax deductible.  United Way encourages donors to be confident in their charitable giving. A copy of the official registration and financial information of the United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley may be obtained from the PA Department of State by calling toll-free, within PA 1-800-732-0999.


The Freedom Memorial of the Lehigh Valley is underwriting the travel, meal and accommodation costs for its 2015 Honored Women Icons or their representatives. For other commemoration guests and participants, the following information on accommodations should be useful.

Commemoration Launch Lodging & Meals

The Renaissance Hotel Commemoration 2015 Rate: $119 on the evening of Sunday, April 26, 2015. All Commemoration 2015 Renaissance Hotel guests will be provided complimentary breakfast the morning of Monday, April 27, 2015, immediately prior to the Memorial Service.

For those with tickets to the Commemoration 2015 Sunday networking event and Commemoration 2015 Monday luncheon, there will be ample food served for all attendees. The ticket cost is $50.00 each.

For any additional lodging, meals or dietary requirements, please contact Megan Prosser, Renaissance Hotel Events Coordinator, at 484-273-4000 or


For more information, please contact:

Siobhan “Sam” Bennett
“Stories that Shaped a Nation” Co-chair
The Freedom Memorial Co-founder and Board Treasurer

Information Provided By:
Mike Moore
Communications Manager
Mayor’s Office
435 Hamilton Street
Allentown, PA 18101